Background & aims: Entecavir is a nucleoside analogue with potent in vitro activity against lamivudine-resistant hepatitis B virus (HBV). This randomized, dose-ranging, phase 2 study compared the efficacy and safety of entecavir with lamivudine in lamivudine-refractory patients.
Methods: Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and -negative patients (n = 182), viremic despite lamivudine treatment for > or =24 weeks or having documented lamivudine resistance substitutions, were switched directly to entecavir (1.0, 0.5, or 0.1 mg daily) or continued on lamivudine (100 mg daily) for up to 76 weeks.
Results: At week 24, significantly more patients receiving entecavir 1.0 mg (79%) or 0.5 mg (51%) had undetectable HBV DNA levels by branched chain DNA assay compared with lamivudine (13%; P < .0001). Entecavir 1.0 mg was superior to entecavir 0.5 mg for this end point (P < .01). After 48 weeks, mean reductions in HBV DNA levels were 5.06, 4.46, and 2.85 log(10) copies/mL on entecavir 1.0, 0.5, and 0.1 mg, respectively, significantly higher than 1.37 log(10) copies/mL on lamivudine. Significantly higher proportions of patients achieved normalization of alanine aminotransferase levels on entecavir 1.0, 0.5, and 0.1 mg (68%, 59%, and 47%, respectively) than on lamivudine (6%). One virologic rebound due to resistance occurred (in the 0.5-mg group).
Conclusions: In HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative lamivudine-refractory patients, treatment with entecavir 1.0 and 0.5 mg daily was well tolerated and resulted in significant reductions in HBV DNA levels and normalization of alanine aminotransferase levels. One milligram of entecavir was more effective than 0.5 mg in this population.